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John Frederick Ballard, Theater Scrapbooks

Identifier: MS-0138

Scope and Contents

This collection consists mostly of scrapbooks containing newspaper articles, programs, and photographs from and about Ballard’s plays.  The plays represented are “Believe me, Xantippe,” “Young America,” and “Ladies of the Jury.”  There is one small file of biographical materials, one file of correspondence, and one file containing legal descriptions of real estate in Kansas City, Missouri.  Also included are photographs of scenes from his plays, which include scenes with actor John Barrymore.


  • 1912-1957


Conditions Governing Access

The scrapbooks are open for research.

Biographical / Historical

John Frederick (Fred) Ballard was born in Grafton, Nebraska, in 1884 and moved with his parents to Havelock, Nebraska, in 1891. Ballard enrolled at the University of Nebraska in 1900 and graduated in 1905 with a Bachelor's degree in Literature. He completed a Master's degree in English Literature in 1907. His thesis was entitled "The History and Tendancy of American Drama." After college he moved to Chicago on the advice of playwright Charles Klein to work in theaters and study the theater industry in order to become a playwright. Ballard's experience in Chicago gave him an idea of how successful plays were written, acted, and produced. Shortly thereafter he wrote "Believe me, Xantippe," a play that won Harvard's John Craig Prize, would eventually star actor John Barrymore on Broadway, and become a motion picture. Ballard also earned another Master's degree from Harvard. He continued to write plays and many eventually became movies. Some of his more successful plays were: "Believe me, Xantippe," "Young America," "Ladies of the Jury," "What's Wrong," "We, the People," "A Rainy Day," "Out of Luck," "The Cyclone Lover," and "Dollars and Chickens."


1.9 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials


Related Materials

Ballard's thesis and other published work can be found by searching the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries on-line catalog. Ballard's correspondence with E.F. Schramm discussing his life and work is found in RG 32/01/03. Additional correspodence is in MS 80 Mari Sandoz papers and the Erwin H. Barbour papers RG 32/01/01.

Peterson Brink
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Repository Details

Part of the Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries Repository

Archives & Special Collections
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries
P.O. Box 884100
Lincoln NE 68588-4100 United States